You have probably heard the popular Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” But do you know the context of where this verse is in the Bible? It is nestled in Psalm 46, a short Psalm of twelve verses where God shows us how His activity invites us into stillness.
The Psalm reads, “though nations rage and kingdoms totter, He utters his voice and the earth melts. The Lord of Hosts is with us” (Psalm 46:7-8). It goes on to tell us that He “breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire; Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10-11).
God’s Activity Invites Us to Stillness
The Lord of Hosts is with us and He does not want us to forget His power. He fights for us so that we can be still and know of His presence because He wants us to be with wholly His when we come to Him.
Jesus Needed Solitude, Too
It is true that our lives are busy and our world is overly-stimulating. But it is important to remember that even Jesus needed to get away. He, too, needed solitude.
He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening He was there alone. -Matthew 14:23
Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed. -Mark 1:35
Jesus’ need for solitude gives us permission to seek out the same silence.
We Need Silence
Another good reminder of our need for quiet comes from Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise:
We must uproot ourselves from the world, from the crowd and from all activity, even charitable works, in order to remain for long moments in the intimacy of God… We all run the danger of being preoccupied with worldly business and concerns if we neglect the interior life, prayer, the daily face-to-face encounter with God… For silence is where God dwells. He drapes Himself in silence.
We are called to uproot ourselves from the world. But roots are strong right? If we have our roots in the world, how do we pull them out in order to find ourselves under the drape of silence with the Lord?
I believe the answer lies in Eucharistic Adoration.
What is Eucharistic Adoration?
Eucharistic Adoration is the simple act of spending time in prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, exposed on the altar.
The Eucharist is often exposed on the altar in a ciborium or a monstrance.
Some chapels or churches offer what is called Perpetual Adoration. This means that, with the exceptions of times for Mass, the Eucharist is exposed in the monstrance on the altar 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What is a Holy Hour?
Although you can spend any length of time before the Blessed Sacrament, it is customary to spend one hour in Adoration. We receive this tradition from Jesus’ words to His Apostles in Matthew 26:40:
So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
If you’re looking for suggestions about how to spend your time in Adoration, I offer some ideas later in this post!
A Communal Time of Adoration
Sometimes, you might make a holy hour in a more formal setting with a group, like on a retreat. For these times of Adoration, there is a beautifully rich liturgy that consists of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (when the priest brings Jesus from the tabernacle and exposes Him in the monstrance), benediction (a special blessing the priest gives with the Eucharist), and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament (when the priest removes the Eucharistic Host from the monstrance and places Jesus back in the tabernacle). This is all accompanied with moving prayers and hymns.
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How to Spend a Holy Hour
Ready to make a Holy Hour? Here are a few practical tips to get started.
When entering into prayer, think of how Jesus chose to come to us in the state of infancy. In such a small and weak state, He perfectly adored His Father, just as He did upon the Cross. This shows us the importance of practicing stillness in the form of littleness by putting aside our own judgment, our own will, and our own strength so that we, too, can more perfectly adore our Father in Heaven.
Upon entering into this act of humility, make an act of faith that you are indeed in the presence of God.
Enter into Silence with ARRR
I pray regularly using the acronym ARRR which stands for: acknowledging, relating, receiving, and resolving.
Acknowledge: Give God the messy. In your prayer, acknowledge all of the thoughts and feelings going on in your heart and mind. Don’t be afraid to share all of yourself with Him. Be honest with yourself and be honest with Him.
Relate: Share with God all that you are acknowledging. If you are angry, sad, or disappointed, tell Him. If you are joyful and hopeful, share that with Him, too.
Receive: After sharing with the Lord, ask, “God, how are you loving me right now? What are you trying to say to me?” Then, receive whatever it is that He has for you. This could be a word, a phrase, or even the Lord pointing you to a particular Scripture verse. Let that word, phrase, or verse really soak in. Let it “drape” over you and sit with it.
Resolve: Make a resolution and be purposeful. What do you resolve to do after receiving what the Lord offered to you in prayer? This could be something as simple as journaling His word to you and going back to it daily. Or maybe it is something more active like confrontation or offering someone forgiveness.
With spiritual reading, the goal is to to connect with God and to read with an open heart. A variety of spiritual books are appropriate for Eucharistic Adoration.
Finishing the book is not the goal of spiritual reading, nor is walking away from prayer with more ideas or more smarts. Sometimes I find myself fighting against the temptation to cruise through a book because I have it in my head that I need to get through it and be on to the next. Instead, allow yourself to take time with your reading, page by page, and encounter God in each sentence. Reading too quickly can impede the opportunity for your heart to be filled and enlarged with the Holy Spirit.
A great companion for settling into silence to hear the voice of our Father is the book I mentioned above, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.
If you are hoping to grow closer to our Blessed Mother in your time of prayer, Ven. Fulton J. Sheen’s, The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God, is a book which helped me delve into the heart of Mary and tethered my heart more closely to hers.
Another book you may not normally consider, but will give your prayer life an incredible encouragement, is Max Lucado’s You Are Special. This is a favorite childhood and adult book of mine. It will fill your heart with warmth as you recall how much God cherishes you! If you haven’t read it recently, it’s time to pick it up again!
Any books written by Fr. Jaques Philippe are great companions for Adoration.
Journaling is one way in which I pray with ARRR. After spending time acknowledging what I am feeling, I journal to the Lord as my way of relating it to Him. I continue to do this when I am receiving His words. I often journal what I hear the Lord speaking so that I can go back to His promises to me. I also love to journal because it is a chronological list of how God has worked in my life. It reminds me that God is indeed faithful to His promises.
Why a Holy Hour?
I want to leave you with the deepest insight Jesus had for me while I was pondering the importance of being still. I was talking to my mom and asked her why she thought it was important to be still. Her answer was simple, “The best thing in life is to be with God. This is where all fulfillment comes from!” She went on to quote St. Therese of Lisieux who said:
It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that Jesus comes to us each day from heaven; it’s to find another heaven, infinitely more dear to Him than the first: the heaven of our soul.
Run to Him in Adoration and find Him in the heaven of your soul!
Live-Stream Eucharistic Adoration
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to physically make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, you can adore Him via live-stream any time.
Thanks be to God for this holy use of technology!
A Holy Hour Cheat Sheet
Are you planning to make your first Holy Hour? Or would you like to share about a Holy Hour with someone you love?
What is your favorite way to spend time in Adoration? Are there any books or prayers you regularly bring to your Holy Hour?How to Make a Holy Hour #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Susanna Parent is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She serves as Evangelization Manager for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the Office of Evangelization. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. When she’s not reading and writing you can find her enjoying life with her new husband, brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, reading wine labels with friends in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir and blogging about her travel adventures. You can find out more about her here.